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Story 013 – 2040 – Sustainability Megatrends Innovation

Plants without limit

Vertical farming for self-sufficiency in high-rise buildings

Agriculture completely re-thought - Vertical Farming. But it was only when other key technologies were added in the decades between 2000 and 2050, that agriculture was suddenly able to expand into megacities.

Where in the past the cool-looking glass fronted skyscrapers in London and Shanghai unbearably heated up the megacities during summer, today - in 2040 - ultra-modern "urban farm-scrapers" have developed, in which people live in the immediate vicinity of the "vertical plantation".

Organic-looking building complexes with temperature-regulating facade surfaces made from metal oxide compounds and a mesh-like network of sensors provide optimal growth conditions for plants such as vegetables and fruit, which serve as food directly for the local people.

By the end of 2040, 80 percent of the world's population will live in large cities and megacities, and by 2100 we will have about 10 billion people on our planet. Growing fruit, vegetables and herbs in urban areas, possibly even in combination with the breeding of fish and other living creatures, would not only satisfy the demand for these products, but would also enormously shorten the delivery routes by which they reach their customers.

These vertical farms reduce the transport of food to a minimum and thus the CO2 emissions by many millions of tons compared to the amount generated by transport between 2010 and 2020. The freshness of the food can hardly be surpassed and the planting optimises the climate conditions in the farm-scrapers' flats. This saves a large part of the energy required for air conditioning in earlier times.

The cultivation of vegetables and fruit within the megacities will make it possible to provide all 10 billion people in the world with an agile supply that meets their needs.

Intelligent architecture, combined with highly interconnected matrix-like copper alloy based sensors on facades and in green areas, as well as bio chips in each plant, enable an unprecedented optimization of the "plant food cultivation" resource. Metallic facade surfaces regulate the degree of light transmission and reflection of sunlight and thus stabilize ideal and healthy climatic conditions for humans and plants. Supplementary heat exchangers and the use of geothermal energy also allow plant growth in cool latitudes. Here, too, copper and special copper alloys play a major role in the development of innovative inventions.